Following three months of increases in the Purdue/CME Group Ag Economy Barometer, producer sentiment moderated in February and retreated to the level reported in December 2016.
The barometer declined to a reading of 134 compared to 153 a month earlier.
The Index of Current Conditions was 105 in February, down from 118 in January. This suggests that producers feel conditions this winter are only slightly better than during the barometer’s base period of October 2015-March 2016, when the Index averaged 100.
The Index of Future Expectations dropped 21 points from its record level of 169, set just a month earlier. Producers are substantially more optimistic about future economic conditions than during the fall and winter of 2015-2016.
This February, 64 percent of respondents rated farmland favorably as an investment, up from 52 percent in November 2016 and 55 percent a year earlier.
Over half of survey respondents reported that ag exports were “very important” to the U.S. agricultural economy and 93 percent reported that ag exports were important.
One-third of respondents reported corn would be more profitable in 2017, while two-thirds of respondents indicated they expect soybeans to be more profitable this year.
Although the Barometer fell 19 points below its record high set in January, it was still the second highest reading since data collection began in fall 2015.